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Central America/Mexico Migration News Brief for March 24, 2017

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This week’s MNB focuses on updates on the U.S. immigration and refugee policies, with a special highlight from this week´s IACHR hearings, as well as top issues of migration in Mexico and Central America (articles in English and Spanish). Please feel free to send us recommendations or requests for upcoming news briefs: ebuckhout@lawg.org.

Inter-American Commission on Human Rights 161st Period of Sessions

Comisión Interamericana de Derechos Humanos, March 21, 2017
“Políticas que impiden el acceso al asilo en Estados Unidos”

Latin America Working Group, March 20, 2017
“Tomorrow, the Latin America Working Group (LAWG) and partner organizations will present at a hearing convened by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), to review and report on U.S. policies that are preventing women and children at the U.S.-Mexico border from accessing critical protections.”

Jamil Dakwar, ACLU, March 21, 2017 
“The United States has pulled its participation from hearings planned for today by a regional human rights body that has enjoyed the support of every U.S. administration since its founding.”

Andres Oppenheimer, Miami Herald, March 22, 2017
“The Trump Administration’s highly unusual step of boycotting several sessions of the highly-respected Inter-American Human Rights Commission (IAHRC) was a bad mistake that will weaken U.S. efforts to condemn Cuba, Venezuela, Ecuador and other systematic human rights abusers.”

Tracy Wilkinson, The Los Angeles Times, March 21, 2017
“The Trump administration did not attend a regional human rights hearing that examined how U.S. policies are hurting asylum claims or triggering other alleged immigration abuses”.
US Immigration Updates

The Editorial Board, The New York Times, March 22, 2017
“President Trump’s Homeland Security Department turned its immigration purge — and assault on the Constitution — up a notch this week. It posted the first of what it says will be weekly online reports identifying state and local law enforcement agencies that decline its requests to keep immigrants in jail to give federal agents time to pick them up.”

David Nakamura, The Washington Post, March 24, 2017
“The Trump administration is launching a series of steps aimed at publicly spotlighting the alleged dangerous posed by illegal immigrants, as it seeks to bolster political support for the need for stricter enforcement.”

Leopoldo Martínez, The Huffington Post, March 21, 2017
“The hazardous journeys of Central American child migrants are a most painful matter. The indescribable drama of the war in Syria, which has produced more than four million refugees between 2011 and 2016, has functioned as a huge backdrop of horrors and distracted attention from other tragedies such as that of Central American children crossing the Mexican border and entering the United States with no papers and only the clothes on their backs; helpless, hungry and fearful children”

Esther Yu Hsi Lee, Think Progress, March 23, 2017
“The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has lodged two administrative claims against the U.S. government this week on behalf of two sisters from Guatemala who say that a U.S. Customs and Border Protection agent sexually assaulted them along the Texas border.”

Editorial, The Boston Globe, March 13, 2017
“The Trump Administration seems determined to devise new forms of bureaucratic cruelty for immigrants: The latest policy proposal from the Department of Homeland Security would separate children from their parents at the US-Mexico border if they’re caught trying to enter the country together illegally. The policy is intended as a deterrent, but the plan is bound to backfire, swamping agencies with children while doing nothing to address the root cause of migration. It would be both diabolical and ineffective.”

Daniel Ramirez Medina, The Washington Post, March 13, 2017
“I’ve been in an immigrant detention center in Tacoma, Wash., for more than a month. That’s a month away from my family, a month further away from doing everything I can to support my 3-year-old son and a lifetime away from the future my parents wished for me when I was brought here from Mexico at age 7.”

Nazgol Ghandnoosh, Ph.D. and Josh Rovner, The Sentencing Project, March 2017 
“Foreign-born residents of the United States commit crime less often than native- born citizens. Policies that further restrict immigration are therefore not effective crime-control strategies. These facts—supported by over 100 years of research— have been misrepresented both historically and in recent political debates.”

Telesur, March 15, 2017
“A new study proves that immigrants actually commit far fewer crimes than people born in the United States, further debunking the myth pushed by U.S. President Donald Trump about immigrants and crime.”

AV Press Releases, March 17, 2017
“While Trump panders to the small minority of nativists who make up his base, poll after poll shows that Trump’s radicalism on immigration is directly at odds with the views of the vast majority of Americans.”

Gene Johnson, Associated Press, March 22, 2017
“The chief justice of the Washington state Supreme Court on Wednesday urged the Department of Homeland Security to keep immigration agents away from courthouses, saying it’s “deeply troubling” that lawyers and judges have reported seeing more of them recently.”

Andrea Castillo, The Los Angeles Times, March 24, 2017
“Ten years later, President Trump’s promise of a crackdown on illegal immigration has congregations across the state and country again mobilizing to shield immigrants from deportation.”

Tal Kopan, CNN, March 23, 2017
“Immigration offenses account for half of all federal arrests, according to Justice Department statistics released Thursday, which focus heavily on the role immigration plays in the federal justice system.”

Peter C. Baker, The New Yorker, March 12, 2017
“In the process, he also noticed toothbrushes, rosaries, pocket Bibles, water bottles, keys, shoelaces, razors, mix CDs, condoms, contraceptive pills, sunglasses, keys: a vibrant, startling testament to the lives of those who had been detained or deported. “

Justin Lahart, The Wall Street Journal, March 23, 2017
“Changes in immigration from Mexico and in demographics will magnify the impact of Donald Trump’s immigration crackdown on inflation and earnings”

Jess Aloe , Burlington Free Press, March 20, 2017
“The three members of Vermont’s congressional delegation are expressing “serious concerns” to Immigration and Customs Enforcement about the arrests of farm workers and farm worker advocates in Burlington last week.”

Greg IP, The Wall Street Journal, March 22, 2017
“However much they quarreled over illegal immigration, political leaders in both parties used to agree that the U.S. needs more legal immigrants to sustain its aging labor force.
Among Republicans, that consensus is dissolving. One dissident who bears watching is Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas. He says the U.S. admits too many legal immigrants based on family ties rather than skills, education or the ability to assimilate.”

Latin American Herald Tribune
“President Donald Trump’s immigration policy has caused people smugglers known as “coyotes” to raise their rates to bring migrants into the US now that the routes are longer and have become more dangerous because of the increased border vigilance, undocumented immigrants say.”

Pilar Marrero, La Opinión, 23 de Marzo de 2017
“Tres economistas de UC San Diego estudiaron las tendencias demográficas y económicas que causan la migración de América Latina y concluyeron que las medidas migratorias de Estados Unidos están enfocadas en el problema equivocado.”

Rafael Bernal and Mike Lillis, The Hill, March 22, 2017
“On Monday, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) released its first report listing jurisdictions that refuse cooperation with federal immigration authorities — a step designed to put public pressure on sanctuary cities.”

The Daily World, March 18, 2017
“The administration made no effort this week to explain how it will get Mexico to pay for a border wall, as the White House rolled out a budget that calls for a new squadron of lawyers focused on wresting land from border residents in Texas and other states.”

Refugee/Travel Ban 2 

Brent Kendall, The Wall Street Journal, March 23, 2017
“A federal appeals court on Thursday agreed to speed up consideration of President Donald Trump’s revised executive order barring U.S. entry for people from six Muslim-majority countries, setting oral arguments for May 8.”

Josh Gerstein, Politico, March 22, 2017
“The Trump administration is asking a federal appeals court to expedite its review of President Donald Trump’s revised travel ban executive order.”

Yeganeh Torbati, Mica Rosenberg and Arshad Mohammed, Reuters, March 23, 2017
“U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has directed U.S. diplomatic missions to identify “populations warranting increased scrutiny” and toughen screening for visa applicants in those groups, according to diplomatic cables seen by Reuters.”

Michael D. Shear, The New York Times, March 23, 2017
“The Trump administration is making it tougher for millions of visitors to enter the United States by demanding new security checks before giving visas to tourists, business travelers and relatives of American residents.”

Dianne Feinstein, Press Releases, March 13, 2017
“Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and 36 Democratic colleagues today introduced a bill to rescind President Trump’s discriminatory executive order barring immigrants from six Muslim-majority countries and suspending the U.S. refugee program”

John Burnett, NPR, March 13, 2017
“But immigrants and human rights advocates say that federal authorities under President Trump’s administration are discouraging asylum requests and turning away immigrants fleeing persecution.”

Chris Geidner, BuzzFeed News, March 13, 2017
“On Monday, states and the federal government ratcheted up their clash over President Trump’s new travel order — with new states formally joining the fight in Washington state and the Justice Department pushing back to argue against Hawaii’s effort to stop the new order from taking effect.”

Joel Ebert , USA TODAY NETWORK – Tennessee, March 13, 2017
“Tennessee became the first state in the nation on Monday to sue the federal government over refugee resettlement on the grounds of the 10th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.”

Mexican Migration Enforcement

Mavi Cruz y Paulo Martinez,  7 de marzo de 2017
“El Gobierno mexicano se compromete a establecer un espacio de diálogo abierto entre autoridades vinculadas a la agenda de asilo y a actores de la sociedad civil para desarrollar propuesta que mejore la atención a la población refugiada en México.”

Whitney Eulich, The Christian Science Monitor
“Organizations big and small are stepping up to help, coordinating cultural fairs or movie nights to educate the public about where these “outsiders” are coming from, building parks and community centers to offer safe spaces for integration, teaming up with businesses to create job opportunities, and monitoring official responses to requests for refugee assistance.”

Alice Proujansky and Cora Currier, The Intercept, March 12, 2017
“But the gang violence, kidnappings, and extortion sending families fleeing from the “Northern Triangle” comprising El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala hasn’t stopped. The area has the highest murder rate in the world outside a war zone, and people are still coming to Mexico.”

David Agren, Catholic News Service America, March 6, 2017
“In the early 1980s, parishioners at the Santo Nino de Atocha parish in this town on the Mexico-Guatemala border opened their church and homes to refugees fleeing civil war in Guatemala. Three decades later, they’re preparing for another influx of asylum seekers—this time from countries farther south as Central Americans seek safety from the gang violence gripping El Salvador and Honduras.”

Prensa Latina, March 21, 2017
“Mexico’s National Human Rights Commission (CNDH) has condemned the United States” discriminatory immigration policy, on occasion of the celebration today of the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.”

Root Causes, Country Conditions

Héctor Silva Ávalos, Insight Crime, March 23, 2017
“A US senator has warned Guatemala that aid funding could be put in jeopardy if the Central American country’s president, Jimmy Morales, insists on calling for the removal of Iván Velásquez, the head of the anti-corruption body CICIG.”

EFE y Redacción, La Prensa, 21 de marzo de 2017
“Juan Orlando Hernández conversó ayer con el secretario e Estado de EUA, Rex Tillerson.”

Lauren Gambino, The Guardian, March 21, 2017
“Supporters and family members of Berta Cáceres, the Honduran environmental and indigenous rights activist who was assassinated last year, have confronted the country’s president in Washington to demand an independent investigation of her murder.”

Tim Teeman, The Daily Beast, March 14, 2017
“We live with the uncertainty,” said Verónica López, a trans woman and board president of ASTRANS, one of El Salvador’s leading trans rights organizations. “We do not know if we will come back home, or come to work the next day. You get accustomed to it. We have little choice. We know if we do something that is not liked we can be killed.”

“El Alto Comisionado de la ONU para los Derechos Humanos (ACNUDH) instó este miércoles a Honduras a diseñar un plan para una “rápida” desmilitarización de la seguridad, aunque advirtió que la violencia se halla en todos los estratos sociales del país centroamericano.”

Fred Pearce, The Guardian, March 22, 2017
“Most believe it was that campaign, against the Agua Zarca dam on the Gualcarque River, that provided the motive for her murder, one of a rash of recent killings of environmental and social activists in Honduras.”

Telesur, March 14, 2017
“The state police of Tamaulipas was accused of torture, rape, forced disappearances, arbitrary detention and extrajudicial killings, among other abuses, in a joint report issued Sunday by the U.N. Human Rights Committee’s branch in the Nuevo Laredo state and Amnesty International.”

Elisabeth Malkin, The New York Times, March 15, 2017
“The most severely disabled children were moved to an institution where 43 of them were housed together in one room. Many of the 130 children brought to a special education school had psychiatric and other problems, and the school’s staff quickly found itself overwhelmed.”

Sarah Esther Maslin, The Washington Post, March 16, 2016
“The U.S. government has spent hundreds of millions of dollars in recent years to help Central American countries capture and prosecute gang leaders and corrupt officials. Although there have been some advances, the system remains dysfunctional.”

AFP, Gulf News Mexico, March 22, 2017
“ A Mexican journalist was shot dead on Sunday while leaving a restaurant with his wife and son in Veracruz state, an area that journalism groups consider one of the country’s most dangerous for reporters, a state commission reported.”

Claudia Torrens, AP, U.S. News, March 16, 2016
“A convicted drug trafficker testified in a New York courtroom on Thursday that he met with the brother of current Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez to get the Central American country’s government to pay its debts with a company that the trafficker’s cartel used to launder money.”

Actions and Resources

Women’s Refugee Commission, KIND, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, March 9, 2017
“Tragically, U.S. immigration enforcement policies, instead of shifting to adapt to this significant change, have continued to try forcing a square peg into a round hole, and in doing so have compounded the vulnerabilities of families and protection-seeking migrants. Instead of promoting family unity, we as a nation are breaking families apart.”

Women’s Refugee Commission, March 22, 2017
“Today, nearly 200 national, state and local organizations sent a letter to Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly expressing opposition to the Department of Homeland Security’s proposed plan to separate migrant families at the border.”

Latin America Working Group, March 9, 2017
“The Latin America Working Group (LAWG) is disturbed by the Trump Administration’s conclusion that its executive orders have successfully deterred migrants and created an “unprecedented decline in traffic” of migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border, justifying the need for future enforcement actions.”

Daniella Burgi-Palomino, Latin America Working Group Education Fund (LAWGEF), Latin America Working Group, March 9, 2017
“However, this order will also have an impact on Latin America. In particular, it will mean that unaccompanied children and families seeking refuge from violence in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras will face greater obstacles to their already limited chances for receiving protection in country, in addition to detrimental impacts from the other two previously signed executive orders.”

Office of the Press Secretary, Department of Homeland Security, March 22, 2017
“On Wednesday, March 22, Secretary Kelly met with Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez to discuss bilateral and regional security and economic issues of mutual interest.  During the meeting, President Hernandez outlined his administration’s recent successes in increasing citizen security, strengthening law enforcement institutions, and strengthening the Honduran economy. “

Duncan Wood, Christopher Wilson, Eric L. Olson, Andrew Selee, Earl Anthony Wayne, Arturo Sarukhan, Wilson Center Mexico Institute, March 20, 2017
“The relationship between Mexico and the United States, although undoubtedly facing its most severe test in decades, remains strong. However, the challenge to the status quo of the relationship in early 2017 does highlight the need to think about this relationship in a radically different way. In addition to reaffirming the truths of economic interdependence and mutual security support, it is clear that the time has come to focus on new issues in the relationship, to adopt a new tone, and to propose a new course.”

Christopher Wilson, Wilson Center Mexico Institute, March 20, 2017
“The Mexico Institute is pleased to announce the report Growing Together: Economic Ties between the United States and Mexico, which explores the bilateral economic relationship in detail to understand its nature and its impact on the United States. The report includes original research on the employment impact of bilateral trade on the U.S. economy, analysis using government and academic datasets, and an extensive overview of existing research relevant to the U.S.-Mexico economic relationship.”

The Woodrow Wilson Center, Mexico Institute, March 21, 2017
“The Wilson Center’s Mexico Institute is pleased to invite you to our event “U.S.-Mexico Relations and the Trump Administration.” Every electoral cycle in the United States or Mexico brings the opportunity to reevaluate the U.S.-Mexico relationship and explore how both nations can improve upon the bilateral agenda given changes in the regional and global context. “

Amnesty International USA
“The White House has issued three Executive Orders that, together, constitute an unlawful assault on immigrants and refugees. Communities of all races, religions, and nationalities stand united in outrage at the Administration’s blatant disregard of our country’s constitutional guarantees of equal protection and due process of law and our human rights obligations.”

Migrant Justice/Justicia Migrante, March 19, 2017
“Please sign to send the following letter to ICE Boston Field Office Director Todd Thurlow demanding the immediate release of Enrique and Zully, and calling for their deportation proceedings to be terminated!”

Steven J. Green and Kimberly Green, FIU
“LACC, in partnership with the Jack Gordon Institute and Fundacion Nacional para el Desarrollo (FUNDE), was awarded an INL- U.S. Department of State research grant to study gang desistance in El Salvador. This research project is based on a survey with a convenience sample of 1,196 respondents with a record of gang membership and 32 in-depth interviews.”

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*The Central America/Mexico Migration News Brief is a selection of relevant news articles, all of which do not necessarily reflect the viewpoint of the Latin America Working Group.